I know what you're thinking: in this era of WordPress, Blogger, and MovableType, the world doesn't need another piece of blog software that will further gunk up the series of tubes with poorly written pieces of "citizen journalism."
But Vox, the latest offering from TypePad and MovableType parent company Six Apart, has the potential to be different. Vox launched today after several months in private beta, and has done what is in my opinion a great job of making it clear that this isn't a typical blogging service. First thing's first: Vox is clearly for grown-ups. For the most part, users implement proper spelling and grammar, capitalize appropriately, and keep smiley emoticons out of their posts. It's quite refreshing to peruse.
And it's not for the ego-bloggers either. "Voxers," as they're called, largely aren't trying to garner a huge following or become the next commercial blogging success story. A daily highlights feature points out members' posts about the quirky and simple things in life: great pancake recipes, funny cat antics, reflections on the anatomy of surf music. Members can also create profiles and friends lists much like those at Six Apart sibling LiveJournal.
But at the same time, Vox seems to be strikingly free of tell-all online journals. The feel of the service is very mundane: keep in touch with friends and family, read a post or two about other peoples' lives, get some new ideas for books or music. There are also plenty of fun features for Web 2.0 organization freaks and media-sharing enthusiasts: you can synch your Vox up to your Flickr album, your favorite YouTube videos, and your reading picks on Amazon. Photography's a big component of it, too, with a different "Vox Hunt" photo suggestion posted each day.
Basically, it's about as Web 2.0 as you can get with a blogging platform.
Current Vox users are probably keeping their fingers crossed that their now-public blogging service doesn't get overrun with the MySpace crowd's sob stories about getting snubbed by their biology-class crushes at My Chemical Romance concerts--after all, it's easy to keep tabs on a smaller and more restricted membership. I guess they'll have to see what happens.